The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), the industry consortium dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of Serial ATA (SATA) technology, today announced it has finalized a new version of its Universal Storage Module (USM) standard that enables consumers to simply and easily increase the storage capacity of their mobile devices. The USM Slim specification defines a thinner, 9 mm dimension, making it an ideal storage solution for ultrabooks, tablets and other portable devices. Demand for thinner, lighter mobile devices often results in decreased native storage capacities, limiting the amount of content consumers can carry with them. The USM Slim specification allows manufacturers to develop external storage offerings that seamlessly pair with these thin and light devices so that consumers can still have instant access to their music, movies, photos and other content at any time or place. The smaller form factor now makes it possible for thinner CE devices to integrate the USM host connector or slot to accept the 9 mm module. Like the original USM specification, which specified a 14.5 mm height, USM Slim defines how developers can design slots into their products that accept complete, powered, external storage devices with integrated SATA interfaces. These slots and storage devices enable consumers to instantly access their content from a variety of products and to seamlessly transfer that content between devices without the aid of additional power or cables. The integrated SATA interface supports transfer speeds up to 6 Gb/s, offering users the same speed and reliability they’ve come to expect from their hard drives and other SATA-based devices. “As mobile computing devices grow increasingly thinner, developers must make tradeoffs with regard to the amount of storage they can build in to their products,” said Mladen Luksic, SATA-IO president. “The USM Slim specification lets manufacturers design solutions for increasing the storage capacity of mobile devices without hampering the portability consumers crave.” The USM Slim specification is currently available at no cost for SATA-IO members. It will also be made available to the industry at large as part of the SATA Revision 3.2 release, which SATA-IO expects to be available later this year. In the meantime, manufacturers are already beginning to develop USM Slim products. Seagate has been shipping a 500GB Slim external drive, which is based on this new USM Slim specification. Seagate’s Slim storage is available on the market today and additional devices from a variety of manufacturers are expected to be available soon.